This is a challenging time for everyone. If you struggle with depression, you may be at an increased risk for an exasperation of symptoms at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainly, social isolation, and the threat to our health has a part to play in this. The following are some tips for you to self-manage your depression during this unprecedented time.
To best manage the interpersonal part of depression:
Get creative with your connections – When depressed you already struggle to reach out and make social connections so when instructed to avoid physical interactions with people our mood is likely to be impacted negatively. Continue to connect in ways that you can, social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing. Phone a family member or friend, use face time and Skype. There are also a number of musicians posting live free concerts on social media- think about having a “social distancing” viewing party online.
To best manage the unhelpful thoughts part of depression:
Limit amount to time spent watching news updates – although it is important to be informed so that we can take appropriate action, set limits on how much and when you will update yourself on the latest COVID-19 information. The news tends to focus on the traumatic parts of COVID-19 and hearing too many of these stories can increase a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
Limit talking about it – we are all going to talk about it, but give yourself permission to change the subject if someone else is talking about it and you need a break.
To best manage with the behavioural part of depression:
Structure your day – If you are forced to be off work you may find that you have lost your routine. Routines are important to keep when you struggle with low mood. Even if you are at home all day, keep it structured. If you are working from home set boundaries around the time you spend doing work and take breaks.
Do things that could be enjoyable – with depression we want to increase the amount of time we spend doing things that could be enjoyable and give us a sense of mastery. This could be a good time to do a puzzle, workout from home, get crafty, start or finish some home improvement projects.
To best manage the health part of depression:
Take reasonable precautions – listen to the advice of Public Health as it is updated regularly, practice social (not emotional) distancing. Wash your hands and try to avoid touching your face. If you get sick from this, or are self isolating and unsure if you have this or another illness, you want to try to balance what needs to be done to manage your health with what you can do to continue to enjoy moments in your day.
We are here to help
The Arnprior and District Family Health Team is here for you. If you are already receiving support from a member of our mental health team, these services continue remotely via telephone or video. If you do not have a counsellor but wish to talk to someone, contact your doctor and request support. We are currently offering a temporary single session service to those in need. You can also participate in our 14 day mindfulness challenge. Videos viewable through our YouTube channel as well as our Facebook page.
Other helpful resources and programs:
Big White Wall: www.bigwhitewall.com
Bounce Back: bouncebackontario.ca
C-PROMT Urgent Care Clinic- physician or NP referral required – new temporary program offered through the Royal Ottawa for MH counselling and medication support- in person and over the phone
Ontario COVID 19 Mental Health Network – free confidential telephone counselling support for front line workers
Improved Access to Structured Psychotherapy – through the Royal Ottawa : Physician Referred – www.theroyal.ca/sites/default/files/2019-08/IASP_Champlain_Region_Referral_Form_EN.pdf